Sunday, May 10, 2015


In honour of Mother's Day, I wish to present you with one of my favourite stories of Lynne Lurie (aka the Mom aka Lynnesky aka Mommmmmm-Asher's-bugging-me!!!). Anyone who has met this fine lady knows the following three things: a) she has a classy accent b) she makes an unreal zucchini soup c) she is unfailingly kind. Growing up, I knew that I could come to my Mom with any problem and she would soothe my worries with her dulcet Zimbabwean tones and a dose of soup and I would soon be right as rain. Well, dear readers, my faith in my Mother's supply of unending comfort was tested one fateful day at age fifteen. Of course, the event took place in the one area of the planet sure to shatter any childhood illusions...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Advice to My Unborn Niece II

1. Jump in puddles.
2. Never skip breakfast.
3. Sometimes older kids think it's "uncool" to play with younger ones. Don't worry, they grow out of it. 
4. Ask questions.
5. Tell the truth.
6. Only the dumbest people don't wear seatbelts.
7. Grandpa David is going to pinch your cheeks, but he'll stop if you ask him enough times. 
8. Play pretend.
9. Don't worry about anything too much.
10. Don't let anyone trick you into thinking money is important. 
11. Daydream.
12. Be a humble winner and a gracious loser.
13. Never forget how lucky you are to have Hallie as your big sister.
14. Always double check your work. 
15. Try your hardest.
16. Rock-Paper-Scissors can resolve almost any disagreement.
17. If you're scared, ask to hold someone's hand.
18. Forgive easily.
19. Keep your promises.
20. Tell your Mom you're old enough to go to the theatre. 
21. Stop and smell the roses. This can be taken literally or figuratively. 
22. Don't play with doors. 
23. Hoarding Halloween candy never pays off. Just trust me on this.
24. You are stronger and smarter than you can possibly imagine.
25. Lead by example.
26. Popcorn and smarties. You're welcome.
27. Laugh until you cry.
28. If you want to know what bravery looks like, you can see it every time your Mom gets on an airplane.
29. Follow your hopes, not your fears.
30. There are few problems that reading a good book in a warm bath can't solve.
31. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
32. Think things through. 
33. Find that balance between washing your hands enough, but not too much.
34. Uncle Asher loves it when people tickle his feet.
35. Cake is meant to be eaten two slices at a time. 
36. Listen.
37. It doesn't matter what other people think of you.
38. Have secret handshakes with your friends. 
39. Walk outside barefoot. 
40. You and Hallie are on the same team.
41. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. 
42. Share. 
43. Your Dad will do anything for you. Use that power responsibly. 
44. Don't cheat. (I know you wouldn't anyway, I just have to say it). 
45. Remember people's names. 
46. Be silly.
47. Let Granny Lynne take photos of you. It means a lot to her. 
48. Dance in the rain. 
49. Learn how to play an instrument.
50. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't be exactly who you are. 

PS. I'm very excited to meet you. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Best Tweets of 2014

I think this list is even better than last year's. Keep up the good work, twitter! And congratulations to all those who made the cut - the internet is a better place because of you.

Bonus fun fact: for the second year in a row, one of my favourites is a tweet about "Ice, Ice, Baby"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How I Became a Feminist (and You Can Too!)

"We can never go back to before." - Ragtime

I used to think I wasn't a feminist. I was for equal rights, I confidently told myself, not favouring women over men. I wasn't interested in getting into heated arguments about the glass ceiling or birth control. And I had never once burned my bra.

Part of this disavowal came from my annoyance with the possessive apostrophe in "women's history." Just because I was female didn't mean this was more my history than the male sitting next to me. I felt that with that apostrophe came the presumption that because I was a woman I should be interested in women's history. And I don't take kindly to presumptions. I was grateful for the civil rights this history had given me, but I was equally thankful for other gifts from my predecessors, like germ theory and the Emancipation Proclamation. I was a human. My history was the history of humanity - of women and men, West and East, Emperor and colonist, Native and settler. It was all my inheritance, and everyone else's too.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Another High School Caper

High School Shira was exactly as cool as she thought she was

By popular demand, Shirby's Dream World is proud to present another high school caper. This one is not as comedically tragic as the code red story, but it is equally shocking in its unpredictability. This is a story about a sentence that has haunted me with its thrilling complexity since the age of seventeen. A turn of phrase so mysterious that it transformed an otherwise normal school outing into a life-altering misadventure.

Every May, around forty students and four teachers spent a weekend up north at an entirely student-run leadership retreat. In 2007, I was one of those students. (I also went in 2008, but nothing nearly as remarkable happened that year). We played sports, did trust exercises, talked about school issues, and met people from different social groups. This was just before Guitar Hero invaded our lives, and so I view it fondly as one of my childhood's last weekends of innocent, wholesome fun. 
So effing cool

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Big Race

The Taste of Success (Spoiler Alert)


After a youth spent participating in competitive sports, my active lifestyle ground to a halt when I started University. My once admirable level of physical activity now maxed out in the walk to and from class. And given that I lived on campus, this would only be an acceptable amount of exertion if I was walking on my hands. And I was not. My diet, never much to brag about, consisted of whatever I didn't have to cook. The cafeteria was a daily indulgence, the snack bar a nightly friend, and Pizza-Pizza a biweekly comfort. At my peak, I would literally take a large bowl intended for the SALAD BAR and fill it with Lucky Charms. Oh, the innocence of youth! 

Unsurprisingly, under this regimen I soon ballooned to mega-Shira proportions. Then I got a phone call informing me that I had made the Canadian Women's Soccer Team slated to compete at the Maccabiah Games. What are the Maccabiah Games, you ask? Thank you for asking. I'll tell you: The Maccabiah Games are basically the Jewish Olympics. Every four years, Jewish athletes from all over the world come to Israel to compete in their chosen sport. If you are now envisioning a bunch of Rabbis doing the 100m dash, you are not that far off.
The Canadian delegation schleps into the Opening Ceremonies

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How I Won My Seder and You Can Too!

This post is dedicated to Rachael's night shift and Stein's bookmarks' bar. 

That's right, I sit at the head of the table and drink from a fishie cup

Seders are supposed to be a celebration of our freedom. We used to be slaves in Egypt, but God made the Egyptians drink blood and then killed their children, so now we're free! Seders are also meant to maximize the enjoyment of the kids - to keep them interested and excited as their four questions are answered. BUT, this is a tall order because seders are also long, heavily ritualized, and mostly conducted in a different language. Three things children (and their handlers) tend not to love. But fear not, dear readers, your Shirby has the answer:

Seder Bingo. 

Intrigued? I bet you are. Here's how it works...